Adams County Election Board disqualifies Daniel Rickord from Decatur mayoral race

Staff Writer

 

 

By ASHLEY BAILEY
Decatur Daily Democrat

    A midday Tuesday public hearing brought an end to Democratic Decatur mayoral candidate Daniel Rickord's run for the city’s top spot after Adams County Republican Party Chairman Gerald M. Walker announced the local GOP filed a challenge to his candidacy. In a 2-1 vote of the Adams County Election Board, Rickord was disqualified from running as the Democratic nominee for the mayoral seat. The election board consists of Republican Jim Vogelwede, Republican Wes Kuntzman and Democrat John Minch.
    Rickord was set to run against incumbent Ken Meyer for the city’s top post. Rickord was the former Decatur City Utilities Manager for several years.
    Walker said the challenge rests on the date the declaration of candidacy and chairman's certification forms were signed.
    "An injustice was done," Democratic Party Chairwoman Barb Engle said during a phone interview Wednesday morning. "It became a political issue."
    Engle said there were plenty of great supporters at the hearing, many who were Republicans.
    "We filed by July 2, a full day before the deadline," Engle said, and then went on to explain there is nothing in the Indiana Election Code stating anything has to be in writing by June 30.
    Candidates filing for the May primary had until Feb. 9 to do so. If no candidate files for a particular office, both parties have until noon June 30 to caucus a candidate.
    A caucus is a local meeting where registered members of a political party in a city, town or county gather to vote for its preferred party candidate.
    Once a candidate has been determined by the caucus, the parties then have three days to bring the required paperwork to the clerk’s office, with that deadline being noon on July 3. According to paperwork filed with the clerk’s office, Rickord submitted his candidacy for mayor at 10:13 a.m. July 2, which was more than a full day before the deadline.
    Walker said in an interview Wednesday afternoon, "It was nothing personal nor a political vendetta … For years I've gone by the exact date" which was by noon June 30. Walker also said two forms had to be filled out — CAN-48, which states a candidate is officially running, and CAN-49, which is a form saying the party chairman has named someone with the intent to run. Both forms were marked July 2, according to Walker, and "if both forms would have been dated June 30, everything would have been fine."
    Republican Craig Coshow, who is a member of the Decatur County Council and director of the Chamber of Commerce, said in a phone interview Wednesday morning, "It came down to two words: filled and filed, the difference of one 'L' changed the outcome of the election. The (CAN-48) form — the party chairman (Engle) had to fill in the position by June 30, which was a Sunday, and the paperwork had to be filed by July 3 … It was filed July 2."
    Coshow said he thought it was strange how the law was written and it seemed Rickord was disqualified on a technicality.
    Meyer declined to comment via email, referring questions to Walker.
    According to the 2019 Calendar Brochure by the State of Indiana, found at www.in.gov, it is stated, "Sunday, June 30, 2019 DEADLINE, by noon, for the Democratic or Republican Party to select a candidate to fill a vacancy on the municipal election ballot due to a vacancy resulting from no candidate being nominated at a primary … Wednesday, July 3, 2019 DEADLINE, by noon, for the Democratic or Republican Party to file a certificate of selection stating that a vacancy on the municipal election ballot resulting from a vacancy on the primary election ballot has been filled."
    The DDD reached out to Vogelwede and Minch, however, they were unavailable for comment.

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